Warby Parker founder Neil Blumenthal makes a very interesting point about public policy and entrepreneurship when he observes that “The rules of optical dispensing vary from state to state. Dispensing eyeglasses is not that complicated and even if it were complicated, there should be uniform rules.”
People talk a lot in Washington about “regulation” rarely with reference to specific regulations or specific problems. And perhaps one of the most neglected problems concerns the information costs of regulation. Even a very sensible rule can be quite burdensome on a businessman if it’s difficult to find out what the rule says. If you have 50 slight variations of the same rule, then even if all 50 of the rules are totally reasonable, you’ve now created a giant burden to anyone looking to scale his business up or (like Warby Parker) innovate in the field of national distribution. Rules that can look totally innocuous individually can collectively become a problem to anyone who’s not a well-established incumbent. Improved transportation and information technology mean that many more lines of business can be “national” in scope than has traditionally been the case. The sensible response would be to shift more of these regulatory functions up to the federal level.
The Obama administration has announced a new process to review all 300,000 active deportation cases to ensure that they are consistent with the nation’s enforcement priorities. The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice will form a working group that will consider deportations on a case-by-case basis and focus its resources and efforts on high priority targets — individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security or repeat immigration law violators. And while the review won’t explicitly offer categorical relief for any single group — like bi-national same-sex couples, children who were brought to America at a young age, pregnant women, military veterans — the process could provide greater protection for these populations. LGBT families and same-sex couples will be considered as families and could benefit from the discretion of the working group.
In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano explains that the case-by-case approach was first detailed in March 2010 and recently reiterated in a memorandum from June, 2011. She argues that the process will enhance public safety and allow immigration judges “to more swiftly adjudicate high priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.” “This process will also allow additional federal enforcement resources to be focused on border security and the removal of public safety threats,” she argues.
The new process is a result of a long-standing administration policy to ensure that the nation is “not clogging the system with folks who are not maximum priorities,” a senior administration official explained. Lower-priority deportation cases “are being set aside so we can focus more on our more serious cases of convicted criminals and other high priority categories.”
The senior administration official said that the process is designed “keep folks who are low priority cases out of the deportation process to begin with.” Those individuals in the existing caseload will also be eligible to apply for work authorization visas, but those determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
[ROMANO:]The Constitution says that “the Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes… to provide for the… general Welfare of the United States.” But I noticed that when you quoted this section on page 116, you left “general welfare” out and put an ellipsis in its place. Progressives would say that “general welfare” includes things like Social Security or Medicare—that it gives the government the flexibility to tackle more than just the basic responsibilities laid out explicitly in our founding document. What does “general welfare” mean to you?
[PERRY:] I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term “general welfare” in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.
So, before he decided to run for president, Perry stood “very clear” on his belief that providing for America’s seniors in their retirement is absolutely, positively beyond the federal government’s authority. Now that Perry wants to be president, however, he’s suddenly so eager to keep this view secret that he’s not even telling his own spokesperson about it.
Child Labor Laws: Does Perry’s statement that “national labor laws” are unconstitutional mean that he would like to hire child workers himself, or just that coal mine and factory owners should be free to start hiring 9-year-olds if they chose to?
Ending Democracy: Perry opposes the the 17th Amendment, which empowers Americans to elect their senators. Would Perry call upon Congress to repeal this amendment on his first day in the White House, or would this be a lower priority initiative in a Perry Administration? Are there any other elected officials that Perry thinks should be appointed by political insiders instead of being selected by the democratic process?
Workplace Discrimination: Perry wrote that federal laws “protecting civil rights” are unconstitutional, but he also makes an exception for laws barring racial discrimination. Does Perry promise to only appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will allow businesses to fire all of their Catholic employees? How about their female employees?
Jefferson Davis Perry: Perry infamously claimed that “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people,” Texas may need to secede from the union. What does Perry believe would require Texas to secede? Would Cap and Trade push him into Jefferson Davis territory? How about single payer health care?
Clearly, Rick Perry has many, many questions he needs to answer about his twisted view of the Constitution. There probably aren’t enough popovers in New Hampshire to allow him to dodge all of them.
ThinkProgress’ Travis Waldron is on the ground in New Hampshire covering the Perry campaign. He captured this video of two of the people at Perry’s campaign event explaining that Perry refused to answer their questions about Social Security and the Constitution:
“No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…
“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.
“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”
QUESTION: With more and more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on the horizon, I’m really worried about protecting our frail elderly in the Medicare and Medicaid facilities. So I would like to know how Congress proposes to balance the budget and still make sure our frail elderly in these facilities are protected and have trained care staff.
COBURN: That’s a great question. The first question I have for you is if you look in the Constitution, where is it the federal government’s role to do that? That’s number one. Number two is the way I was brought up that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.
The answer to Coburn’s first question is Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” No plausible interpretation of the words “general welfare” does not include programs that ensure that all Americans can live their entire lives secure in the understanding that retirement will not force them into poverty and untreated sickness.
While Coburn’s first question reveals his need to actually read the Constitution before he pretends to know what’s in it, his second question betrays his utter disconnect from the reality ordinary American families face. The annual cost of nursing home care in Tulsa is $47,815.00. So Coburn apparently thinks that it is a family’s responsibility to either wipe out their savings or face crippling debt in order to ensure that their parents and grandparents are cared for.